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    A New Narrative – Bringing Simplicity to Marketing Research

    Peter Shafer, Vice President, Digital Solutions

    In a world filled with innumerable options, instant information, and advanced technology, it would seem that our lives should be simpler because we have so many choices. Yet, current research suggests that our lives have gotten considerably more challenging because we have access to too much of everything. More and more people are seeking the “off” button as a way of reclaiming a bit of peace and simplicity in a cluttered world.

    The same can be true for marketing researchers and the enormous amounts of data available. Big Data is everywhere, and one of our biggest industry challenges these days is finding the most meaningful way to interpret it. Further, even survey research can provide great data, but without the ability to draw actionable insights from that data, it makes it difficult to take advantage of the findings. Simplicity has a home in marketing research, too.

    Automation plays a huge role in reducing the complexities of the research process. By taking various tasks essential to conducting proper research and making them more streamlined, accurate, and cost-effective, the time from idea to insights is significantly reduced. Automation goes beyond DIY tools (although we are a big fan of those) and provides us the feeling that we can control steps in the process we previously didn’t have a view into. With this added visibility, ease, and efficiency, we can focus on those things we can’t control or automate.

    Simplifying data insight analysis could have far-reaching implications. In the past, analysts created pages and pages of charts, graphs, and text that explained but didn’t always tell a story. Compelling insights were often buried, hidden by the sheer enormity of information, or ignored as irrelevant because nothing else could corroborate its importance. Simplification aids in exposing true nuggets worth exploring, and storytelling brings them to life. Suddenly, data insights go from flat images on a page to being tied into the real world.

    True visualization of insights is the next big leap. We are actually already there, driven by our clients need for quick, actionable findings that are easily digestible. Visualization isn’t just about survey data, however. Insights today are a creative blend of social media, text, big data, and survey data. We predict the growth in this area will be explosive, especially as more companies move toward “uncovering the story” and away from a heavy reliance on complex analytics. It’s all about the incorporation of observation and interpretation as well as bringing diverse bits of information together to create a new, more powerful narrative.

    Providing cutting-edge marketing research and visualization tools is what we do at Toluna. We focus on designing systems and processes using technology that nearly anyone can understand and use. We develop our ideas mostly from outside the marketing research arena by scouring other industries looking for best practices and innovations that could be applied in our industry. Then we redesign and re-imagine the possibilities. Our objective is to bring marketing research to as many as possible because at its heart, Toluna is simplicity with purpose.